Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is certainly playing mind game with Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s Google in the artificial intelligence space. It seems the company wants to keep its rivals ever guessing its next AI move, which could perhaps allow it room to leapfrog them.
Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) recently announced an expanded open-sourcing of its deep learning framework called CNTK. The company initially in April last year open-sourced the tool but limited its accessibility, especially cutting off commercial developers and only allowing academics to use the AI framework. Perhaps sensing the limitations in Microsoft’s open-sourced CNTK and hoping to outshine the competitor in impressing third-party AI developers, Google open-sourced its version of AI toolkit called TensorFlow. That happened just a month after Microsoft open-sourced CNTK with restrictions that barred commercial developers from using the software.
Microsoft’s CNTK diminishes Google’s TensorFlow
However, in a move clearly aimed at undercutting Google in the open-source AI space, Microsoft has lifted all the restrictions that ever held back widespread adoption of its CNTK. For example, Microsoft no longer hosts CNTK in its CodePlex platform but has given it away to GitHub, the capital of open source software. Additionally, Microsoft has simplified licensing for CNTK, which further makes it more accessible and acceptable among third-party AI developers. Perhaps what might break Google’s back in the race to woo independent AI developers is the claim that CNTK is more powerful and efficient than Google’s TensorFlow and all other open-source deep learning tools out there.
Although Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s CNTK is only coming with support for C++ language, open-sourcing the software means that developers can now add their favorite languages to it. Microsoft has also promised to continue enriching the tool with more languages and possibly more features.
It remains to be seen how Google reacts to Microsoft’s in fully open-sourcing CNTK, but there is no doubt it didn’t anticipate what was coming when it rushed top open-source TensorFlow.
Deep learning arms race?
Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), Google and Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) are not only investing fortunes to develop artificial intelligence technologies, but they are also increasing opening up to outsiders to participate in their projects by open-sourcing their technologies.